EPMEPM: Cover Stories

Brent Martens and Micheal Ramsay: Gold on the Coast

Brent Martens and Micheal Ramsay have almost 25 years of BDM experience between them, which comes in handy given the big goals they have set themselves. Part of the powerhouse team at Harcourts Coastal on Queensland's Gold Coast, they say it’s teamwork, dedication, and a unique partnership with the sales team that has given them the edge in such a competitive location.

It’s OK to have fun, even when you are tied up in the serious business of growing a rent roll.

This is the one of the secrets to success for the Harcourts Coastal BDM duo, whose results speak for themselves. In the last 12 months they listed 511 properties, a number they hope to beat this year through working together, maintaining close relationships with the sales team.

A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP

The Harcourts Coastal office has a robust sales team of approximately 75 agents, who work alongside Brent and Micheal to provide them with leads and help drive the PM side of the business. This belief in the importance of good service is what has forged the connections between the sales team and themselves, and is part of what makes the partnership they share so successful.

With the sales team sending across fresh leads before the ink has dried on a contract and Brent and Micheal ready to call investors straightaway, their objective, they say, is to make it easy for investors to choose them.

“Every time a property gets sold, we get notification it’s going under contract along with the salesperson’s details.

Then either Micheal or myself will email that agent straightaway saying, ‘Well done, congratulations, is it an investor who bought the property?’

“If one of our salespeople sends a lead to both of us, straightaway one of us looks at it. This responsiveness gives them [the sales team] confidence we’re helping them and their clients,” says Brent.

MAKING IT EASY

Their connection with sales agents provides Micheal and Brent with plenty of leads, and Micheal says the key to converting them is making it as easy as possible for clients to sign. This doesn’t involve any fancy tips or tricks, just good old-fashioned customer service.

“A lot of people are impressed when you actually call them, after they bought a property last night and filled out the contract and then they get a call from us in the morning because a salesperson sent it through,” says Micheal.

In a saturated market, that tenacious attitude and solid teamwork can be the difference between survival and failure.

“I think the main thing is just to do your job,” agrees Brent. “Ring people back and get onto it straightaway. Do what you say you’re going to do.”

A TEAM WITHIN A TEAM

Working as part of a team isn’t just a great way to provide a quality service to clients and build a rent roll. Brent and Micheal say it also makes work life easier for them while keeping each other motivated.

“Having only ever worked as a BDM on my own, when Brent started it really made a difference to my job,” says Micheal, who worked in sales for two years before taking on the role of building the Harcourts Coastal PM roll.

“You’re never going to win everything. Because we are so busy, something could come up in another hour and you’d better be upbeat for that, so you can’t sit and dwell,” says Brent.

“It doesn’t matter who gets the listing, we’re here as a team.

If he brought back a Form 6 but I hadn’t had the best day, we would still give each other a high five and write it up on our board.”

To keep things super-efficient they’ve streamlined diary management. Although Brent and Micheal keep separate diaries for the day to day, they organise their time to make sure agents always have someone to talk to in the office, and neither BDM wastes a second of their day making unnecessary trips given the large area they need to cover.

“Once again, it comes down to time management,” says Brent. “If one of us is out, we like to keep one in the office to handle the things that come up there.”

SEAMLESS WORK PROCESSES

The teamwork continues in their own department and a seamless connection also exists between themselves and the property managers, which ensures a smooth process for investors.

Over time, the duo have sat down with the PMs in their office and developed a shared checklist, making sure each department’s goals are clear and communication lines are open. This includes sharing duties like sorting
keys and booking tradespeople to check the property well ahead of schedule. Alongside leasing agents they then work together to get people through the door as quickly as possible.

“When we list a new property we do everything, from getting the photos taken to providing the ad to putting it on the internet,” says Micheal.

“We’ve got a huge database of tenants as well, so as soon as we list something we send it straight out to those tenants. I had one, I put it online and got 10,590 people looking at it, and we got 12 people to go through it in less than 24 hours,” says Brent.

THINK LIKE A SALESPERSON

Were it all to end tomorrow and they had to start over again, the secret to building a successful rent roll is channelling your inner sales agent, says Brent.

“You’ve got to be like a salesperson; if you’ve got a sales office, hang off those salespeople, go through open for inspection books, get them to mark down everyone that’s an investor,” he says.

“If you’re starting out new to BDM, go on some sales appraisals with good sales agents and you’ll pick up how they do it, because it’s a similar sort of role.”

Personal branding is a lesson often taught to sales agents, but it can pay off in all areas of the real estate industry. The pair say that the presence of the Harcourts Coastal brand in their area and online has significantly helped them secure clients, but presence alone isn’t enough to make a successful BDM. This system of referrals from the sales team might have sounded like enough to sustain a business, but Brent and Micheal don’t rest on their laurels; their referral network reaches far and wide.

“We’ve got finance brokers, solicitors, other sales businesses in the area that don’t have property management departments. Plus, with the time we’ve been around, we’ve built relationships with developers in the area, so we get flicked a lot of leads that way,” says Micheal.

SETTING THEIR OWN GOALS

Another aspect of their role that has really made a difference is the leadership of Dane and Kym Atherton, who they say have inspired them to achieve even more.

“When you’ve got that kind of influence from the top, it makes you want to work harder, you want to do better, and they see enjoyment in us succeeding too. And it’s been very obvious; there’s been a lot of milestones with individuals, personal ones, and financial and stuff,” says Micheal.

“And that’s the thing: we’ve never really had anyone saying, ‘You have to get this target’; they know we’re doing everything we can to get what we can.

“So they trust us as well, which means a lot to us because they know we’re doing the right thing, and they trust we’re doing the right thing,” concludes Brent.

If the team hit their target of 1,000 by 31 May, it will be off to Hamilton Island for everyone; a pretty good incentive to over-achieve the goals they have set for themselves.

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Hannah Blackiston

Hannah Blackiston is the Deputy Editor of Elite Agent and real estate obsessive who splits her time between stalking auctions and lusting over luxury listings. She fell into property journalism 5 years ago and never looked back.
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